Schenck head coach Darrick Thompson admits being at odds with his assistants during Thursday afternoon’s Class D North boys basketball semifinal against Woodland.
Holding a lead during the fourth quarter, Thompson encouraged his players to attack the basket when the Dragons tried to pressure the ball and trap. That aggressive mentality served Schenck well down the stretch.
The fourth-seeded Wolverines got to the foul line often and made seven of 10 free throws in the final 3:01 to grind out a 50-44 victory over No. 1 Woodland at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.
The 13-7 Wolverines advance to Saturday’s 10:35 a.m. regional championship game against No. 2 Jonesport-Beals (17-2), which beat Greater Houlton Christian Academy 66-53 in Thursday’s first game.
Woodland ends the season at 17-2.
“Perseverance,” Thompson said.
“They were hungry for this moment — the kids laid it out there.”
Schenck prevailed despite a roster than includes only one senior regular in Travis Thompson, the coach’s son. He went 5-for-6 from the foul line on his way to a game-high 21 points to help get his team over the top.
“This was going to be a hurdle for us to get over because we’re young,” coach Thompson said. Woodland had four seniors on the court.
The Wolverines overcame a 10-for-23 effort from the foul line with their attacking offensive mentality, gritty rebounding and their assortment of defenses.
“The difference I think with Schenck, compared to other teams, is worrying about getting an offensive rebound,” Woodland coach Ben Maloney said. “Tonight their length gave us fits and they were able to rebound on both ends better than we were.”
The Dragons, the defending regional champions, also failed to establish one of their main weapons, the 3-point shot. They made only two of 17 from the arc after going 12-for-20 in Monday’s quarterfinal win over Van Buren.
Schenck asserted itself in the fourth quarter when Tyrone Davis (8 points, 9 rebounds) scored from underneath off a Regan Currie pass then made a layup off a long pass from Thompson to take a 39-33 lead with 5:44 to play.
A baseline drive by Colby Hannan (8 points, 4 rebounds) at the 3:37 mark made it 41-33.
Woodland responded on a free throw by Chris Plissey (7 points, 5 rebounds) and a conventional three-point play by Drew Hayward (16 points, 6 rebounds) off a drive to the basket cut the deficit to four with 3:02 left.
But the Dragons lost their composure during the next 30 seconds as two players picked up technical fouls. Thompson and Hannan each made two free throws to push the advantage to 45-37 with 2:32 to play.
“You’ve just got to hold your composure, no matter what,” Maloney said. “It cost us.”
The Dragons fought back and cut the deficit to 45-41 behind four straight points by Sabre Phelps (13 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocked shots), but Thompson hit three of four foul shots to help ice it.
“We don’t like to leave anything on the table, but I thought at times we might have played a little too fast, played into their hands a little bit. But in the end, it all paid off,” Travis Thompson said.
Kaden Hannan contributed nine points and eight rebounds for Schenck, which grabbed a 38-32 rebounding edge.